I came back to Montreal two weeks ago to take care of some accounting and maintenance on the Jeep. I’ve had an intermittent problem with random high/low voltage codes on some oxygen sensors (a common problem on Jeeps, apparently), along with some annoying audio switching issues. My theory was either a struggling alternator, tired battery, or bad ground. I changed the alternator for a Mean Green model, but this didn’t help, although I’m sure it’ll be useful to recharge the backup & trailer batteries much quicker. ;-)
Several months ago, I read about a relationship game where one partner would summarize what the other had said (their feelings, points of view, etc.), and validate 3 aspects of that summary (start your 3 questions with “Do you mean…”). The idea is to try and get three “yeses” from your partner. It’s actually much more challenging than you might think. :) First, you have to find 3 things to validate, which means you have to try and understand their point of view more than you normally would — we have a tendency to “half listen” because our egos are already projecting what we think the other is saying, and jumping ahead to a conclusion (so we can formulate a reply). :) This game forces us to slow down and really listen to what our partner is saying — and even then, you’d be surprised how wrong your understanding can be. ;-)
I learned of this game too late to help in my last relationship — by the time a relationship is unravelling, your ego is adding so much context to what your partner is saying that it becomes almost impossible to hear or understand what they’re really saying under all those projected layers. You may not want to understand what your partner saying either — that might change the position you’ve defended for months or years, and the game becomes more of an internal struggle to avoid asking those questions that might actually be helpful. :)
In the future, I hope to use this game as something fun to play with — acknowledge that misunderstanding our partners is unavoidable, and see if each of us can understand what the other is trying to say enough to get three “yeses”. ;-)
Hanging-out in a hammock is a good place to think sometimes — especially if you’re alone. :) This afternoon I was pondering my reactions and decisions to some difficult situations this past year. I noticed a common behaviour in how I handle problems in general… When confronted with a problem — a really difficult, impassable problem — I’ll tend to give up on it at some point, set it aside and focus on something else. Some time later — weeks or months later — I’ll come back and see if something has changed; maybe the problem isn’t as important anymore, maybe something has changed and it fixed itself, maybe I have a different outlook and now have a solution… This could be a typical “Man Thing”, where we retreat into our “Man Caves” to get away from things for a while and come back refreshed — but I’m fairly certain this is also a learned behaviour. This kind of “obstacle handling” has worked for me successfully ever since I can remember.
The problem with learned behaviours — like anything that becomes a habit — is that you start applying it indiscriminately. Some things, like problems in a relationship, may need a different approach. We may know this, but when push comes to shove — after months (or even years) of trying — we may fallback to our tried and true “obstacle handling” methods. After all, we’ve tried everything else, haven’t we? But relationships are not like other problems — you can’t give up and walk away, and expect things to “fix themselves”. ;-)
Hopefully I’ll remember this when difficult problems arise again in a future relationship(s). :)
Last night I stopped in Kingfield ME for the night. I’d changed my mind about driving to NC — heading for Montreal instead — and finally stopped when I was at my wits end. I’d eaten a breakfast sandwich from Tim’s that morning, a power bar for lunch, and now a pounding headache was letting me know that I was due for real food and a rest. It’s lucky I stopped when I did; the mountain road from Kingfield was icy and treacherous at times — especially on summer tires with a 3,000 lbs trailer. :) I had to maintain unwavering attention to the road for almost two hours — no time for coffee. :p
I made it to my Mom’s place, just outside of Montreal, around noon today. I’ll probably stay here for another few days while I catch up on paperwork and renew my passport. Some of the banking stuff has to be done in person, so I might as well do it now, rather then next year when I get back from Costa Rica.
The plan isn’t firm yet, but I’m considering driving down to Florida and flying out from there to Costa Rica.
Meanwhile, this stop in Montreal will also allow me to fine-tune my equipment — I’m going to ditch the cameras (the phone will do), and pickup a suitcase for the dive gear.
I left Charlottetown early this morning, headed down to North Carolina to visit a good friend. After a few hours driving, I start to wonder, “Where the heck am I going?” I know I’ll be flying down to Costa Rica in January, but what am I doing until then? My friend is leaving on vacation Dec 19th, and after that, what? Xmas is a big unknown. Shouldn’t I be with friends and family? And then, as I get to the US border, I realize my passport is expiring in February (my trip to Costa Rica is January to March). I can renew from the US, but the process can take a little / lot longer… And I still have some income tax paperwork that’s been on the To Do list for a while now… And to top it all off, the flight to / from Costa Rica is cheaper from Mtl than the US! Aside from the chance to hang-out with my friend, the only other positive bit of news for driving to NC is the cost of gas. I can’t believe how cheap it’s gotten in the US. I can only image the price in the southern states! :)
About halfway down Maine I decided to change direction and head for Montreal. I’ve no place to stay, but that’s ok, I’ll figure something out. ;-) I stopped for the night in Sugarloaf, a few hours from Montreal. Unless I change my mind overnight, I should be in Montreal tomorrow. That’ll give me a month to get things organized before flying down to Costa Rica.
I liked the idea of driving down to the US beforehand, but really, how thin do I really want to stretch myself? I figure I can always drive down when I get back from Costa Rica. :)